I am behind on the blog! Ahh! So much to wrap up! Saturday was our last full day in Belfast.
Belfast's biggest claim to fame is Titanic and the White Star Line, which employed many of Belfast's men to build ships, not just any ships, but huge ocean liners like Titanic, Olympia, Britannica, and the Nomadic(the last surviving White Star Line ship, which is docked in the harbor and you can walk aboard).
The Titanic Museum was a sight to behold. The building itself was remarkable with its peaks and shiny outside. It looked like a giant iceberg...hah!
The Titanic Museum was interesting. It had a lot of neat exhibits about Belfast and the city at the time that the ships were being built. Belfast was a booming city, full of people coming to work in the shipyards, the linen factories, the whiskey distilleries, and all of the other factories that were popping up along the River Lagan. This helped make Belfast successful during this time.
The ship was built at the shipyard and once the skeleton was put together, it was floated down the river to the dry dock that was specifically built for Titanic. It was at the dry dock that all of the final touches were added, like the paint, the furnishings, etc, before it could make a few test sails to make sure it was built properly.
I enjoyed the museum, it had a lot of history of the ship and the passengers who died, but the one question that I was left with was, after they built the Titanic, the shipyards were still used. Most of them were destroyed during the wars and were bombed almost completely during World War II. They were rebuilt and used again, but the museum never touched on the shipyard in its future state. When I left the museum, Matt and I both wondered what about today? What sort of ships does the shipyard produce today?
After we went to the museum, we walked down to the dry dock and pump house of Titanic. Passing by, we noticed the Titanic Studios/HBO, where Game of Thrones is filmed when they are not using Nothern Ireland's amazing landscapes.
The walk to the pump house was nice. Great views of the shipyard and the studios that Game of Thrones is filmed. Arriving to the pump house, it was so amazing to realize that this was the last place Titanic saw before she left for Southampton, England on her fateful voyage.
Upon arrival to the pump house, Matt and I didn't really know what to expect. We watched a short movie on how the pumphouse and dry dock worked and the. We had to sign a waiver about treading on dangerous ground around hazardous materials...so, we signed and went about the tour of the pump house.
While we were here, what amazed me was the fact that the entire ship dock was made by men, by hand. All of the bricks, digging, etc.
While we were walking around the dry dock we noticed two sets of modern staircases at the very end. It started to click why we needed to sign the waver...we could climb down inside the dry dock!
And, we did! It was an amazing spectacle.
It was neat to be standing in the place that once had one of the greatest ships ever built in it, too bad she didn't make it across the sea...
Afterwards, we caught a taxi to the other end of Belfast to the Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum, which was all about the Ulster nation. Ulster people are native British/Irish in Northern Ireland.
Walked by the impressive Victoria College, established by Queen Victoria, and then we ended our day with pints at Crown Bar/Crown Liqour Saloon across the street from our hotel and dinner at a little hole in the wall, Darcy's, great food!
Belfast was a nice city, however, Matt and I said we probably wouldn't have been able to spend two entire days in the city. We were glad to have made a trip to the Giant's Causeway. If we stayed in Belfast again, we would probably use it as a base for Giant's Causeway, since it is only an hour and a half drive from Belfast.
So, from there we embarked on a grand journey back down to the Republic of Ireland in our little blue VW Polo, which I have come to love.
Check back for another entry later about traveling by car to Londonderry/Derry, Donegal, and Sligo! Slainte!